John of all trades



John Guthrie, an 84-years-young resident of Newport, is an advocate for staying active and healthy, with no plans to retire. 

When Peninsula Living caught up with John, he had just returned home from a walk with his fury friend, Panda Bear. 

“I’ve only got the one [dog], that’s Panda Bear. He’s my beautiful boy, I love him to death. He’s 15 and blind in one eye,” John says. 

John has been an active member of the Pittwater community since he was young, joining the surf club at age 14, and is currently the chair of the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series.

“I’ve been out of the area at different times, but I’ve always ended up coming back to Newport and I won’t be moving out again because I just love it here,” he says. 

At the time of our chat, John was scheduled in to have a hip replacement a few days later, however, the avid swimmer was keeping his body moving as much as he can. 

“I just keep going,” he says.

“I’ve always been into exercise, and I think that’s been the secret.” 

John does four weight exercises a day, 30 minutes of yoga, swims every morning, walks up and down flights of stairs five times a day, meditates and gets regular health checks. 

“It’s really important, I think, for preventative heath, and that’s where exercise comes in, because you’re working your system all of the time.”

John believes it’s our job to take care of our own physical and mental health, and it is important to have regular checks to address any potential health problems.   

“We all put our cars in to be serviced and change or put new tires on, but we don’t think about that for ourselves as much,” he says. 

The long-time local advocates meditating is great for mental health. He does it every morning and evening and has been partaking in meditations for over 30 years. He has also recently discovered the benefits from swimming during colder months.  

“I’ve found that the cold water is very stimulating to your body and mind,” John says.

He maintains ‘we need to enjoy life as we get older’ to keep going with looking after general health and wellbeing – something some people may push to the side. 

“One thing I always say is you don’t have to be a gym junkie. You don’t have to run miles and all that sort of stuff, just pace yourself and set yourself some targets,” John says.   

John gets involved in community activities and has been one of the organisers of the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series since its conception 13 years ago. 

“The Northern Beaches Council gave us a grant, which helps us promote the Pittwater swims. The whole idea is to make this a bit of a mecca for ocean swimming in Pittwater,” he says.

John is proud that the swim series attracts more people to the area, which in turn helps local businesses and promotes local facilities. Not only is he busy promoting the swims, but he also works as a PR consultant and has been since 1985.

John describes himself as the ‘jack of all trades’, and says he doesn’t think he will ever retire.

Jess Clarke, Journalist, Peninsula Living Magazine

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